Life without a tumble drier

Hello Dear Reader,

I grew up with a mum’s twin tub and lots of clothes horses. We never had an automatic washer let alone a drier. I have three clothes horses. A fantastic continental version that we bought from Lidl and two standard ones. I have two top of the range Minky driers and they last for years and years. If the weather looks ‘dodgy’ then the washing goes on them and not the whirly gig line so I can just grab it in doors. In the winter, I stand them in front of the patio doors and the passive solar dries the laundry. It also makes the house mouldy behind curtains and in corners of the rooms. Nothing dries washing like a real fire. Stoke up with old wood and shut the fire down for the night, stand it well away from the fire (this was positioned for the photo) and leave over night. By morning, it’s dry.

I am still reeling from the luxury of heating. It’s amazing how cold we’ve been over the last few years with the heating set to 17 degrees. We hand our bath towels over the banister at the top of the stairs and instead of their usual cold mustiness by Wednesday, they are crisp and dry and like new every morning.

All year, I keep an eye on the weather forecast and wash when there’s good weather. Now, I can light the fire and dry when I need to.

How do you cope with washing? When do you do it and how do you get it dry?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx


28 thoughts on “Life without a tumble drier

  1. Same here, brought up with a twin tub and a clothes horse. No central heating, no tumble driers.
    I use an automatic washer (haggled down to £95 in Currys as it was ex-display) and either line dry or use one of my two vintage wooden clothes horses bought for 50p each from jumble sales. If the heating's not on the washing can hang around for days. x


  2. I tend to do the washing when the laundry basket is looking full – that way I can sort it into full loads of different washes. I have nowhere to hang washing outside and our house doesn't get any direct sunlight so I dry things by hanging them around the house! Some things get hung on the backs of chairs near radiators while other things go on coat hangers along curtain poles. We have an all in one washer/dryer so I usually give each load a 20 minute blast on a half heat drying cycle just to take the edge off but nver to completely dry something.


  3. Like you I have been drying on clothes horses for years. We have only ever had wood fires at home and I dont know what I would of done without it. Even in summer, its gets very hot and dusty here, I often just put the clothes on the horse and it helps keep the humidiy up on those days. Tip if you hand the clothes right you dont ever need to iron, more savings.


  4. Until my youngest son was born I never had a washing machine, even then it was a little counter top one that merely swished clothes around andI had to reach in pull things out and then wring them to put on the line to drip dry. Before then it was a case of washing things in bath water after bathing my older son (6 years older than his brother).

    Things always dripped over the bath until they dripped no more and were then moved to airers to continue drying, truly the old fashioned way!

    Eventually I got an automatic washer and the thrill of things coming out already spun to a mere dampness has never left me. I have no problem with my clothes being draped around the house drying on the airers. We have our main one in the spare room where the constant background heat of the large chest freezer and the passive solar warmth through the window dries things reasonably quickly (within a day of washing).

    Anything needed in a hurry can be draped or stacked on the Aga, although this does tend to leave things 'crisp'.

    I have never owned a tumble dryer.

    Sue xxx


  5. I put my washing on an airer in the greenhouse. Even in the winter, it doesn't take too long to dry stuff but as I'm only washing for one, I don't have a lot to dry.


  6. No tumble drier here either. Good old washing line outside and indoors it's a clothes horse, bannister rail and shower rail in the bathroom. Never known any different to be honest, you can't miss what you never had!


  7. Hello drugs .when I moved I decided not to have another washer dryer .opting instead for 3 Dryers and 4 to go over the radiators which I have yet to use also invested in hooks to go over the doors designed for hanging cloths already on hangers. Like you I try to put on the line when I can dread to think what my electric bill would be else. Rachel


  8. We wash a full load of washing probably every second day (3 adults & one works out every day) in cold water and our clothes are dried either on the clothesline or hanging around the house on a clothes rack or on the furniture.

    Often I put the towels and sheets over the front balcony to dry in the morning sun.

    I've been surprised to learn that clotheslines are out and that most people seem to use driers as a matter of course nowadays, maybe I'm showing my age 🙂


  9. Luckily, Froogs, I live in Australia. So my washing is usually dried outside.

    When we get home after dark in winter, if the kids have not got the washing in before the evening dampness, or if it has been raining a lot, we hang the clothes on clothes horses over the air vents for our ducted gas heating. In summer the rain never matters – one afternoon of sun is enough to dry several loads.

    We own a drier – but we cannot bare the cost nor the effect on the environment when we have plentiful sunshine! So it is only used in emergencies – eg to dry kids' school uniform after a wet weekend.

    The drier was bought 15 years ago when we lived for a year in a tropical part of Oz and had a new born. I couldn't get the cloth nappies dry – it never stopped raining for 4 weeks!!! I think the drier will live another 15 years with the amount of use it gets.


  10. My Mum's answer to people who only use tumble driers is “they've got too much money!” I'm afraid I know quite a few people who never hang washing out, 'not liking it to hang about'. Some of these have husbands with large salaries and they are working for pin money!

    I am trying to fathom out a way of hanging washing over my galleried landing to get the free heat. House too small to hang in a bedroom, no space. Conservatory too cold in winter but if you get a sunny spell it's ok.

    I do have a tumble drier, replaced my old one a couple of years ago for a refurbished one – but do you know, it's slower than my ancient Servis so I never use it now. Wish I'd never bought it.


  11. I grew up in a house with no washing machine at all. My poor Mum had to make do with a boiler and an old wooden and cast iron mangle that was kept outdoors. I still remember how I'd lose the feeling in my fingers helping Mum to mangle the cold wet washing in the depths of winter.

    Ever since I left home I've always had a washing machine but have never owned a tumble drier. Washing has always been dried outside (keeping up with the latest weather forecast helps me work out when to do large loads of washing for maximum drying chances.) In the winter anything not totally dry from being hung outside is dried indoors using a clothes airer and an extremely vintage but very useful wooden clothes horse.

    Life without a tumble drier is just normal for me – I guess what you never had you never miss.


  12. In our current flat we have no outside areas for drying. I am fortunate though to have 2 sets of patio windows so an airer in front of each can dry a load within 24 hours. In summer I pop towels and sheets over our window guards (juliette balconys), in winter the hand over doors.
    Recently someone here was drying things infront of the big corridor windows but a letter was soon sent round from the letting agents saying it was a health and safety issue. Boooooooooo


  13. I wash about 8 loads a week, so it's one a day and an extra one on Monday or Tuesday. Summer and Winter are fine – I dry on the whirlygig in summer, and when the heating is on our (non condensing) boiler vents to the outside just outside our back door, conveniently under the porch, so the washing can go on clothes horses there.
    When we really struggle is in the spring or autumn when it's not cold enough for heating, but too damp to dry outside. Then we have a house cluttered with clothes horses, and clothes with the 'took 3 days to dry' musty smell.
    We recently put our house on the market, and had to get an EPC. We were delighted to see our energy bills are about half what they 'ought' to be for this house.


  14. I have never ever own a tumble dryer, so I don't get how some people say they can't live without one…
    I grew up in a small apartment in Paris with my parents and we were 4 children. My mom always managed to keep us clean, we had a rack hanging from the ceiling over the bathtub to dry the clothes and that was it.
    Currently I live in a house with a garden with my husband and 3 children (tween and teens), I dry the laundry outside most of the time on an umbrella hanger. When it's rainy I hang it in the utility room, where I have 2 ceiling hangers.
    BTW, it's starting to feel a bit chilly here too, we are having our first fire of the season today !


  15. Hi Froogs, I too dry my washing by the log burner over night, lovley to come day to a warm room and dry washing, keep it up I love to read your blogg every day. you are amazing


  16. My mum didn't have a twin tub until I was in my teens! She used to hand wash everything… goodness knows how or why. She now has a washing machine but only because my brother bought her one in the 90s!!
    In a household of 2 adults and 5 children we do a lot of washing, usually 2 or 3 loads a day. In the past we tumble dried all winter… but this year we are hanging it out on the whirly drier unless it's raining, getting it in at the end of the day and finishing in the drier for 20 minutes or so. We have also started hanging out washing overnight if it's going to be a dry night, sometimes by morning the laundry is pretty much dry. Obviously that won't work at all on still foggy freezing nights… I also have a pop-up airer which I finish drying stuff on in our bedroom.


  17. My mum used to have a large metal box in her bedroom that had slatted “rails” just inside the lid – it was powered by electric and made no noise when it was plugged in.
    She would hang a load of spun washing in this “box” and the next day it would be dry.
    I have looked online to see if they are still made, but a lot of my parent's stuff came from their travels abroad years before I was born.
    At Fostermummy towers washing is hung outside or around the house to dry – the tumbledrier is used for sheets and duvetcovers, and it's the only thing MW and I disagree on. As he does the laundry while I'm at work, he wins this one at the moment! FM x


  18. I wash it in the machine and then according to what it is, I hang as much as possible on coat hangers. This means air can circulate and you can arrange it so it doesn't need ironing. Some things are draped over chairs. I have had clothes horses in my time but have never found them big enough and everything gets squashed and takes longer to dry. Plus it takes up space that I simply don't have. The hangers are hung from door frames. Sheets etc are slung over doors – I could never use a clothes horse for them.

    In the winter they have some heating going on around them. In the summer the same thing happens as I don't have outdoor facilities and every time, and I mean every time I tried to put out washing it rained. I don't like putting things on radiators as it blocks the heat but occasionally I might. With a big wash I kind of run out of space.

    I don't wash much by hand – it uses up heaps of water doesn't it? I don't mind hand washing once in a while though. It's getting the water out of clothes that's the problem. If you wring them you can hear the fibres creaking and breaking. I would love a mangle like my granny had actually – it was fun and did the job. If I had no washing machine I would have to have a spin dryer. Years ago I had a twin tub, you had to get involved with it but it washed far better and the spinner got your clothes dryer too. My machine comes with the rented flat. It doesn't spin too well and sometimes it doesn't work at all – not sure why.

    I would see a tumble drier as a waste of energy. We had one briefly when I was a teenager. Things smell nicer though. It also removes fibres from your clothes which isn't good.


  19. A small multi fuel stove and a ceiling airer (sheila maid) equals one load of lovely dry washing every day for me with no maidens cluttering the floor up.
    It is good for drying my herbs on too 🙂


  20. Automatic washer and dryer here! However, I do hang up ALL my son's clothes to dry rather than using the dryer. I can't afford for his clothes to shrink and no longer fit! I hang up all shirts on hangers and hang them up over doorways. I stretch out his shorts and jeans over the backs of kitchen chairs. Then I leave the ceiling fans on overnight and by morning everything is dry. In the morning I iron his shirts and shorts but I have to throw his jeans in the dryer for a few minutes b/c they're too stiff even to iron.


  21. i quit using my dryer this summer, it just made no sense to use a dryer, that would also heat my house up, when the house was already in the 80's and it was 90's outside. So i had Mac put a clothes line outside, and when it's rainy we have attic space we can put clothes in.


  22. hello
    I wash only when my washing maschine is full,when the weather is good..hang my clothes outside on the line,when the weather is bad….hang my clothes inside on a clothes horse
    in the near from the oven. i have never had a tumble dryer.
    sorry for my terrible english!
    great blog!!!
    have a nice weekend,


  23. We had no washer and dryer in all the years I was a child though from time to time we had a wringer washer. So then I graduated to laundry mats and for many years now have both a washer and tumble dryer in my home and I use both. Often I hand out my lighter things to dry and tops and pants if I don't want to over dry and shrink them. But for the most part I do not hang blankets, linens and other things, esp. if they take a long while to dry. I can't abide my mold in the house or any other form of dampness though if I have a warm sunny day out, I will hang stuff on my rack.


  24. I do not have a garden. I do have a TD but a lot of our clothes go over the airer in the back room and over each radiator. It takes a while as we have not put pur heating on yet save for about 20 minutes a couple of weeks ago when my visitors were cold. My TD is over 15 years old and I look after it. We only usually put it on when the airers are full and we are desparate for clothes to be dry.


  25. Pleased that you like your woodburner. We had one fitted in our chimneyless, 1980s blockbuilt house and enjoy it immensely.

    Like you, I bought a load of dryish logs to get going and have been drying other stuff as I find it. Contrary to the received wisdom, very well seasoned wood just burns up and you need some moisure in the burn to get control. Our “chimney” (pipework) is fairly short and can be cleaned easily so we are not htat bothered about tar, fires, etc.

    What model did you go for? You were very quiet about the fitting process.

    The stainless tubing cost more than my stove and the fitting, more again. I bought the cheapest, biggest one going and then reduced the internal size with furnace bricks(reclaimed) including an internal hearth to put a cast iron casserole pot on. If we have a burn-up, we can fry on the top. Not an ideal addition to our salon, but reassuring that it can be done. We keep a kettle bubbling on the top and can let things bubble away slowly on the top.

    I would be interested on your take on the ancient art of wood burning in these stoves and what you find works best.

    On an average shortish dog walk through local woods, I return with 2 days burning. The maul makes plenty out of old pallets, as I am sure you have found.

    But, c'mon Froogs, get that mantel up. What are you going to look at come Christmas!!!?



  26. Fostermummy do you mean a Flatley? We were given an old one when we were first married but it used to scorch the clothes so we stopped using it… When I was growing up, we had a single tub with a wringer over the top. Before that washing was done by hand and we had a mangle in the yard. Now I have an automatic washer but will only use it if there is a full load. I still do lots of bits by hand to use up hot water in the pipes. I usually use cheapo bar soap for that and the bar will last 2-3 months. I do have a tumble dryer but normally only use it for a couple of loads a month in the spring and autumn to get heavier things dry in wet/damp weather when there is no heat in the house. I have to admit that the tumbler was worth its weight in gold when I was ill for several weeks earlier this year.


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